Primary Investigators: Nicholas Lara and Alan Leventhal.
Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Marco Meniketti and Mr. Alan Leventhal
Background: On August 18, 1978, human remains were discovered during the excavation of a swimming pool at a private residence located along Babb Creek in east San Jose near Alum Rock Park. At that time SJSU archaeologist Dr. Thomas Layton and Anthropology Lab Director Alan Leventhal got permission from the land owner and took the Archaeological Field Methods Class to the site. The field class conducted an archaeological data recovery program that included observations on the in situ skeleton, the screening of the backhoe excavated soils for the recovery of artifacts and ecofactual materials, photographing and profiling the exposed stratigraphy. Afterwards, the students processed the recovered assemblage, conducted analysis, and generated a draft report on the findings. Although this draft report was made available to members of the archaeological community, the report itself was never submitted to the Northwest Archaeological Information Center (then at Cabrillo College) and it was never published.
Since 1978 this archaeological assemblage has been curated in the SJSU archaeological lab. Recently, Anthropology undergraduate student Nicolas Lara who is enrolled in Leventhal’s 195 Anthropology Practicum class has taken the lead to conduct a reanalysis of the archaeological assemblage and co-author a final report on this site. During the early 1980s while reviewing the faunal assemblage it was noted that some human skeletal elements previously dislodged from the location of the in situ burial also have been reanalyzed by Leventhal, Lara and Anthropology alumna, Diane DiGiuseppe (who is currently working as a skeletal biologist).
Over the past 30 years there have been co-authored studies conducted in collaboration with the leadership and members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe on other ancestral Ohlone populations. Bio-Anthropological scholars such as Dr. Eric Bartelink (CSU, Chico) have collaborated and published on Stable Isotope, Ancient DNA by Drs. Brian Kemp and Cara Monroe from Washington State University and Strontium Isotope by Dr. Jelmer Eerkens at U.C. Davis. A co-authored final report will present information on the field work, lab methods, paleo-environmental conditions, skeletal analysis/inventory, stable isotope analysis, ancient DNA, artifact analysis, C-14 (AMS) dating, obsidian hydration and an ethnohistory written by the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal leadership.
College of Social Sciences Foundation Research Grant:
In order to accomplish some Carbon 14 dating goals Nicolas applied for a grant from the College of Social Sciences Research Foundation this Fall 2014 semester. He was awarded $1375.00 for his research proposal and the resulting AMS dates from the radiocarbon lab will be updated here.